In a continuing series of features from our authors, Down & Out Books is thrilled to present an original short story by G. J. Brown, “Dying for a Bet”.
CARRIE OPENS THE DOOR ON HER ageing car that has threatened, on more than one occasion, to lie down and die. She leaves the engine running. It’s less than fifty/fifty that it will start up again. The cold of the late night sucks what heat there is from the car’s dilapidated interior. The headlights flicker. The electrics are on life support.
Carrie knew that committing murder required better planning than this. As a minimum a reliable getaway vehicle was a necessity, but she was going to do it anyway.
The lack of a weapon was also a bit of a miss. True, she could, and would improvise. After all, with a bit of imagination, you could turn most things into a killing aid — mainly because she was going to do it anyway.
High heels, coupled with a short party frock were not ideal for killing in the countryside. The rain of the last four days would demand a pair of wellingtons, if not waders, to cross the field. But she had to kill. That was the one immutable truth about tonight.
The rain falls. God is emptying the bath.
Her perm, a seventy quid indulgence that she could ill afford, collapses under the weight of water, seconds after she exits the car. She has no coat. It will make little odds. A Sou’wester is the only reasonable protection on a night like this.
The waterproof makeup is a lie. A blast of wind borne water sluices a swathe of foundation, another ill considered indulgence, across her face.
Two steps from the car, the heel of her right shoe snaps as her foot plunges into a mud filled pot hole. She reaches down, pulling the shoe off. She throws it into the night, followed, a few seconds later, by the other. Barefooted her tights soak up the water. She’ll soon be dragging two clown’s feet of sodden nylon behind her.
It all makes no difference. She has to do this. No she will do this. The bastard deserves it. In every way possible the bastard deserves what’s coming down the road. And it’s coming with the certainty of a runaway steam train.